A crucial factor affecting the power conversion efficiency of oxide/metal/oxide-based organic photovoltaics: Optical cavity versus transmittance

Byeong Ryong Lee, Gi Eun Park, Yong Woon Kim, Dong Hoon Choi, Tae Geun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Considerable effort has been directed at improving the power conversion efficiency of organic photovoltaics, using oxide/metal/oxide multilayers as transparent electrodes, because of their numerous advantages including lower sheet resistance, higher transmittance, and higher flexibility in comparison to typical indium tin oxides. However, to date, most organic photovoltaics based on oxide/metal/oxide electrodes exhibit a lower conversion efficiency than indium tin oxide-based organic photovoltaics, without any clarification. In this investigation, we identify crucial factors that influence the power conversion efficiency of oxide/metal/oxide-based organic photovoltaics to fully exploit the potential of these devices, based on the correlation between the optical cavity and the transmittance. For this purpose, we fabricate five sets of inverted organic photovoltaics using poly({4,8-bis[(2-ethylhexyl)oxy]benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene-2,6-diyl}{3-fluoro-2-[(2-ethylhexyl)carbonyl]thieno[3,4-b]thiophenediyl}) and [6,6]-Phenyl C71 butyric acid methyl ester-based active layers and ZnO/Ag/ZnO electrodes with top ZnO layers of varying thicknesses, with reference organic photovoltaics using indium tin oxides, on both rigid and flexible substrates. The highest power conversion efficiency of 8.71% and 7.53% is obtained from single-junction organic photovoltaics with 40/9/8-nm-thick ZnO/Ag/ZnO electrodes on each substrate, due to strong micro-cavity effects between the top and bottom Ag layers, despite the relatively low transmittance of the electrode. This result is supported by the relation between the electric-field intensity and the transmittance curves of the ZnO/Ag/ZnO/solution-based ZnO/active bulk optical stacks based on simulation results. Furthermore, flexible organic photovoltaics with the ZnO/Ag/ZnO electrodes demonstrate much better performance in mechanical bending tests in comparison to the performance of standard indium tin oxide-based organic photovoltaics, and the previously reported oxide/metal/oxide-based organic photovoltaics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1513
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (No. 2016R1A3B1908249 , No. 20100020209 ). B.R. Lee and G.E. Park contributed equally to this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Building integrated photovoltaics
  • Energy harvesting
  • Micro-cavity effect
  • Wearable photovoltaic device
  • ZnO/Ag/ZnO electrode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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